Pan/ Schattenspiel Tarot
©Linda Dawn Hammond 1996/2005
PAN/ Schattenspiel Tarot
Meanings and Details
XV PAN (or Devil)
I chose to depict the card known more commonly as The Devil as Pan, in an effort to reduce its evil connotations. "The Devil" as a composite is part of an attempt by the Christian church to demonize sexuality and nature. It has been the aim of much of my past photographic work to stimulate a reconsideration of the "demonization" of sex through the presentation of a more accepting view of physical expression.
Pan, as a woodland deity, also represents man in harmony with nature. This is reflected in his lower body, which is that of a goat, and his playing of the pan pipes, said to stimulate the desires of man and animal alike. As I chose to depict Pan holding a pan pipe, I had to forgo the card's distinctive hand gestures. Traditionally, The Devil is seen pointing his right hand to the sky, and his left to the ground. If one were to give this a Christian interpretation, they would be referring to the polarity of "heaven" and "hell". On each arm, however, a word is usually inscribed : "Solve" on the right, and "Coagule" on the left, meaning "divide" and "unite". These refer to mathematical principles, which suggests the reconciliation of opposite forces.
I decided not to write the words on Pan's arms, but he continues to point upwards in the gesture which signifies "divide". The gesture signifying "unite" is replaced with his playing of the pipes, which unifies man and nature. If one interprets the left hand gesture as indicating "earth" rather than "hell", then the original meaning has not been greatly altered by this shift towards "nature". This serves to acknowledge that the Christian "Devil", who was created by the Church to epitomize evil, is actually a composite of pagan gods who represent nature and the irrational forces. My card combines the seductive and lustful elements of Pan with his more ominous side.
Within each card lies the possibility of an oppositional reading. The slaves of the Devil are an example; apart, yet joined in mutual submission to the Master. Shackled, yet unfettered as freedom is ever present in that their bonds are optional. A closer investigation of this card usually reveals that the shackles are either unlocked or large enough to escape from. The question remains, will they recognize this, and finally act upon this knowledge to take control of their own lives.
Each of us decides the form our Master will take. Some realize the alternate paths open to us and that the shackles can be slipped. Others assume them to be impenetrable, and so remain within their restraints unto eternity. Not everyone desires freedom, for with it comes responsibility, chaos and the unknown. The irony is that many mistake servitude as representative of responsibility, whereas the Truth can lie in its inversion.
The Slaves can be the same couple found in The Lovers. This is fitting, for what love does not enslave to some degree- narcissism included. Physically apart but longing, divided by the Devil, one finds them fused in embrace in the Lovers. But lurking in the shadows, multiple facets of their interlocking are revealed-- coyness, entreaties, intrigues, rejections-- yet they are inescapably the Lovers.
Historically, although the shadow is present in each deck as a philosophical reality, there is rarely a pictorial shift in perspective when one views a card in reverse. I've inserted symbols which only become visible when seen in reverse but don't necessarily reflect an oppositional reading as a result. An example of this would be the reversed face in the groin area of Pan, whose meaning does not alter with the inversion of the card. Another thing to note is that the slave's shadows both fall towards Pan, even though they stand on either side of him.
The insertion of a face on the groin is a common addition in the Devil card. I placed Pan in a cave whose entry resembles that of a vagina. The shadow of the "penis" is a snake; a goddess symbol is therefore the penis' shadow. A pattern derived from a scan of a boa constrictor also adds to the texture of the cave. The face within the "vagina" on his groin is simultaneously an enlarged clitoris and a representation of birth. He is therefore hermaphroditic, as his genitalia displays characteristics of both sexes. I discovered later on that statues exist of early Celtic godesses who also display an engorged vagina.
When I was working on the Pan image, I decided to digitally stretch the face of a decidedly odd sculpture I had photographed. (see Death) It possessed a widened mouth whose tongue, when observed in reverse, was a baleful little face. Unintentionally, the neck stretched into a distinct penis shape and the mouth/vagina became evident. I had found my Pan's hermaphroditic feature quite by accident, though it disturbingly felt as if other forces were at work to help create the image. (see dream 9, "The Pits of Mortgoth") Nevertheless I was pleased to have found a way to avoid the more traditional representation, that of female breasts on a male figure.
Pan's animal guide is the bat, whose colonies form the greenish pattern on the wall above him. The Devil is often depicted as having bat's wings. When my card is seen in reverse, Pan himself resembles a hanging bat.
Pan's "horns" were created digitally from his "dreads". A latex/ moose antler sculpture hangs behind him. Pan, being part goat,
possesses horns. The Devil can also be referred to as the "horned one", and in illustrations wears either horns or antlers.
The stag as a symbol became a target for the Christians who sought to supplant the pagan religions which preceded them.
It was a sacred animal, worshipped by the tribes as a giver of life. They depended upon its meat for survival and in homage, included it many of
their rituals. Some, such as the "Running of the Stag", were overtly sexual in nature as well as violent. ( Appendix Q)
Beautiful antlers were thus vilified by the Christian church as representions of conceit, unnecessary adornment and the desire to
"There are several, especially German, fairy tales which represent the evil spirit nailed to a tree or wall... in the legends of the Arthurian circles and the circle of the Holy Grail, where Percival has to find not only the Grail containing Christ's blood but also the stag, or stag's head, nailed to an oak tree, from which he has to take it down... the stag is represented as an evildoer, a destroyer of the woods and Christ's shadow." 18
The human bones were brought by Pan, found in a pile of discarded dirt near the Mount Royal cemetary. The boa constrictor belongs to Pierre, who plays both a slave and a lover. The bowl of skulls are courtesy of Sherry (of "Jalan" in Toronto) and Indonesia, where they originate.
Text and photography: Linda Dawn Hammond
18 Von Franz, Marie Louise, Shadow and Evil in Fairytales, (Shambala,Boston, 1995) p.46,47
Author: Linda Dawn Hammond
Evil in the Shadow
If one looks at something evil, Plato once said, something evil falls into one's own soul. One cannot look at evil without something in oneself being aroused in response to it, because evil is an archetype , and every archetype has an infectious impact upon people. To look at it means to become infected by it.
Marie Louise Von Franz
The Shadow need be no more than the recognition of an uncomfortable truth about oneself. Often, rather than face our own imperfections, we project them onto others, never realizing what it is which causes us to reject the adversary so strongly. What we are actually projecting is called, in Jungian terms, the"personal shadow," as opposed to the "collective shadow", which is personified by the Devil.
"The Devil represents for us what Jung has called the collective shadow, meaning a shadow figure so enormous and all-encompassing that it can only be borne collectively by all mankind. Neither the suprahuman creativity of the Magician nor the infrahuman destructiveness of the Devil belongs to us personally. Both of these characters are archetypal figures representing instinctual tendencies whose full powers are above and beyond our grasp." 4
To encounter the Devil in the Tarot, however, is not as it appears. One is not in the grasp of Absolute Evil, but must learn to confront and sublimate the chaotic, inner forces of nature. This indicates that the reading of the Devil card is not entirely Christian, for one is not being asked to reject Nature as the enemy of Reason. A longstanding argument against Nature does not, however, stop the Church from invoking in "her" name the wrath of God when faced with what they deem to be "unnatural" acts. ( Appendix K)
To obtain a reverse reading of The Devil signifies that one has allowed the ego to triumph and
that the instincts are in danger of being repressed by the intellect. The meeting with the Devil
is considered to be the ultimate challenge,
"...the most dangerous encounter of all, because he embodies the energy of the inner self. If he triumphs, then consciousness is flooded with his dark force and the seeker may become megalomaniac... like one possessed as he grasps the attributes of divinity to himself." 5
In an introduction to interviews conducted with Joseph Campbell, Moyers quoted him as saying
that the hero's journey is,
"...not to deny reason. To the contrary, by overcoming the dark passions, the hero symbolizes our ability to control the irrational savage within us. "... On other occasions Campbell had lamented our failure,"...to admit within ourselves the carnivorous, lecherous fever" that is endemic to human nature." Now he was describing the hero's journey not as a creative act but as a life lived in self-discovery." 6 He may well be describing what is meant by the encounter with the Devil.
Does accepting the presence of the shadow within ourselves mean that we should
accept the impulses of what we might term "evil" as being equal to those we conceive of as "good"?
Is this what is really meant by,
"There is the plane of consciousness where you can identify yourself with that which transcends opposites," 7 And should we examine to what system of belief we owe these dualistic categorizations?
This has become a recent issue in art, where portrayals of the shadow can
lead to censorship and arrest, even if the work remains within the realm of the imagination.
As a past victim of incest, for example, one can present controversial work dealing directly with
these issues and find support within the community. But if one is ambiguous in stating one's
personal interest in the subject, the meaning of the work will then shift from embodying "good"
to embodying "evil" and be condemned. It is not the actal work which has changed, but the
perceived intent of the artist. Thomas Moore asked the question,
"...where does life-imagination split from the art-imagination..." 8 In quoting James Hillman, Moore suggests he is saying that,
"...our own pathologies are what makes us individuals... the pathologies of the soul also tear us away from the ego, from heroic fantasies, from attachment to life, from our narrowly conceived hopes and affections." 9 I found it disconcerting that what Moore claims limits us from exploring our individuality fully, I claim to be the source of my creativity and my humanity. One is reflected in the hero one chooses. Moore chose Sade as an example of an explorer of the shadow and advanced a theory in support of his ideas. Moore suggests that the "shady alternatives" described by Sade, in opposition to morally accepted values, have a role in the expansion of the personality and the "soul". They are not to be viewed literally but on the level of mythology, where they already enjoy a defined and accepted place. Referring to Hillman again, Moore claims that,
"Pathology, in life and image, forces us to look behind the facade of natural events to their mythic dimensions" 10 However, to condone Sadean pursuits beyond the page is a long step past the "art-imagination." Sade's writings are replete with unconsenting victims. To affix concepts such as "soul" and "love" to the actions of the Sade's libertines requires a tremendous leap of faith and credulity.
4. Nichols, Sallie, Jung and Tarot/ An Archetypal Journey, (Samuel Weiser,Inc., York Beach, Maine, 1980)
5. Douglas, Alfred, The Tarot, (Penguin Books, Middlesex,England 1972) p.91
6. Campbell, Joseph, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers,(Doubleday NY 1988)intro p.xlv
7. ibid., p.48
8. Moore, Thomas, Dark Eros:The Imagination of Sadism, (Spring Publications, Woodstock, Conn., 1994) p.9
9. ibid., p.10
10. ibid., p.11
Text and photography: Linda Dawn Hammond
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Linda Dawn Hammond, 2005. The images posted on this site are of lower resolution than the originals.
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